Beer Cheese Soup

Here is my take on beer cheese soup, I just love a bowl of it with some crusty peasant-style bread spread with my roasted garlic spread.

4 Tbsp. butter
1 chopped medium sized yellow onion
At least 1/2 cup chopped carrot
At least 1/2 cup chopped celery
a few cloves of garlic, crushed (I like 5 cloves myself)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 (12-ounce) beer of choice (Sam Adams cherry wheat is good)
7 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, shredded
7 ounces swiss, gouda, or a smokey provolone, shredded
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Saute the onion, carrot, garlic, and celery in the butter over medium heat until they are soft. Sprinkle with the flour and cook and stir for 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and beer while whisking, let the mixture come to a boil. Slowly add the cheese in small batches, keep it barely boiling, and stir until smooth. Stir in the half and half, salt, dry mustard, worcestershire sauce, and plenty of freshly ground pepper if desired. Reduce heat to low and cook until thickened.

Sometimes I will add diced ham and lightly steamed broccoli to the soup at the end of cooking time.

I have also seasoned the soup with sage and rosemary and that turned out really nice. I typically serve it with a nice salad and some really good crusty bread or chicken wings and bread.

For the roasted garlic spread...........
1 bulb of garlic
1 stick of butter, softened
chopped fresh or dried herbs of your choice ( I use parsley and basil to go with italian dishes, rosemary and sage to go with poultry, just experiment!)
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired

To roast the garlic just cut the top off of it, wrap it loosely in foil and drizzle with some olive oil. I leave a little opening in the top of the foil. Roast it in the oven (I usually do a few bulbs when I roast a chicken, no need to heat up the oven just for garlic) for about 40 minutes or until nice and soft. When it is done you will be able to just squeeze it out of the cloves. Squeeze it into a small container that has a lid. Smoosh it up with the back of a spoon and add the butter and your herbs and stir well. Store it in the fridge until ready to use.
To make the bread just split a loaf, spread it with the spread, and pop in the oven until the butter is melted and good.

You can also store just the roasted garlic in the fridge, just squeeze it out of the cloves and store in a covered container. I like to use it in homemade breads, pasta sauces, and to spread on chicken or beef, and to stir into soups and stews. Roasted garlic gets sweet and mellow, it is wonderful


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